When I was in sixth grade I joined the wrestling team. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The conditioning, the practices, and the pain as you battled your opponent to get the win or hang on for dear life to avoid being pinned.
I will never forget one particular match where I faced a far superior wrestler; I did everything I could to just survive. As he wore me down he put a painful move on me called the “guillotine,” it still hurts thinking about, and I was pinned. The next year I joined the basketball team.
I was recalling that experience as I read the story of Jacob wrestling all night with God (Gen. 32:22-32). Jacob was desperate; he refused to let go of the LORD because too much was at stake. The next day he was to encounter his brother Esau, the one he stole the birth right from. He knew he deserved the rage of his brother, but was clinging on to the promises of God for him and his family.
In the early morning God instructed Jacob to “let go.” However, despite the pain from a dislocated hip, Jacob’s reply was, “I will not let you go until you bless me,” (vs. 26). And as the story unfolds God does bless him and changes his name from Jacob to Israel.
The etymology of the word Israel, is defined as “one who contains, or a receptacle of God.” I love this! Jacob, the deceiver, the one broken by many trials, but after wrestling with God and holding on for dear life-now he is ready to be a vessel for God’s glory and honor.
The Father loves it when we wrestle with Him in prayer; the Hebrew word for this is chutzpah, which is a shameless audacity. Jacob demonstrated chutzpah by not letting go of God until He blessed Him. We need to come to the place where we realize we are weak, hopeless, and broken people without the power of the Spirit of Christ working in us!
Jesus taught His disciples that they needed this same chutzpah when they prayed. Right after teaching them the Lord’s Prayer, He says they should be like the man who has a visitor come to his house with nothing to give him. So that man goes to his friend in the middle of the night and pounds on the door with shameless audacity until he gets up and gets all the bread he needs (see Luke 11:1-13).
This is what the disciples did after Jesus’ ascension to heaven. For 10 days they pounded on heaven’s door asking the Father for the promised Holy Spirit. They wrestled with God knowing their own weakness and emptiness. In themselves they had nothing to give themselves or others and needed the Holy Spirit, the bread of heaven. As with Jacob the Father was pleased with their wrestling and blessed them on the Feast of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
I want to challenge you to take hold of Father God and His promise of the Holy Spirit and don’t let go until He fills your empty vessel and you overflow with blessings to give to others. Our world desperately needs the loving Spirit of Christ to flow out of His followers.
Starting this past Sunday millions of believers around the world are spending 21 days in prayer and fasting for Israel and a fresh out pouring like the day of Pentecost that will bring blessings and healing to the nations, (https://isaiah62fast.com).
Join this historic prayer movement and “Give God no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Isa. 62:7